I've not yet talked about what, exactly, the circumstances were for me to take that first off plan bite last week. Yes, there was stress. There was medical stuff. There was a holiday. But you know I'd been eating on plan with Medifast for several weeks and was feeling great. I was down 11 pounds in 4 weeks and stayed on plan in week 5, even though I didn't have a loss. And then it happened. I took that first off plan bite. Before the Kit Kat incident, before the cheese and crackers, I took the first bite that set in motion all the other off plan bites that followed this week and resulted in a huge gain.
I wasn't having cravings. I wasn't hungry. I wasn't fighting myself about food at all. I felt quite good and was going along just fine. So WHY... why would I CHOOSE to put that bite in my mouth that would end a five week stretch of success and send me off track?
It's always all about that first bite. For many of us, we go along doing well on our chosen plan and then *something* comes along that results in a poor eating choice. In my experience, it doesn't matter what it is. The fact is, that first bite always brings a sense of relief... a removal of inner conflict... an end to the perhaps subconscious or perhaps very overt battle in our minds about whether we are going to eat our planned, healthy food or something else. Whenever there is conflict, struggle, and a sense of constantly having to be on guard or even 'waiting for the other shoe to drop,' that is stress. We might not *feel* stressed but it is there. And when you finally give in and pop that peanut butter cup in your mouth, all the stress and conflict melts away, being replaced by relief and sometimes guilt or shame. And sometimes that one bite is the black-and-white 'flip' that turns you from an on-plan, working-to-lose-weight machine into a puddle of "I am a failure, I can't do it, I am just going to eat." And that can lead to days, weeks, or months of indulgence and relapse into bad habits.
Well, enough of that. The circumstances of my first off- plan bite were eerily similar to something that happened a couple of years ago, when I went off Medifast because I went to a dinner party where the only things served were baked macaroni and cheese, dinner rolls, and sweets. This time, we were invited to a different dinner party. It was not a potluck but a provided meal. Admittedly I had no idea what would be served but figured I could always pick at protein and veggies and drink water, and then eat a reasonable amount when I got home. I ate a Medifast meal before I went and brought a bar in my purse, just in case. When I got there, I nibbled on the only on-plan thing I saw: celery sticks. But when we were all sitting around the big dining room table and the food was brought, I had a choice to make: eat or sit with an empty plate. Honestly I was not worried about it, even though the meal was a huge dish of homemade baked macaroni and cheese along with big juicy cheeseburgers on buns. There were pita chips and hummus, too... all decidedly NOT on plan. For a brief moment I considered taking a cheeseburger and picking the bun off to eat it with a fork, but really. Sometimes that kind of thing can fly, and other times it is just glaring and attention-drawing, and I just thought "well, I'll be fine. I'll just eat a reasonable amount and get right back on plan afterwards." So I put a burger and a spoonful of macaroni on my plate, along with 2 pita chips and a dab of hummus and I enjoyed them. I also enjoyed socializing and being with people I care about.
That was my first off plan bite. That is what took me off the Medifast Road and led to a week of disruption. It was HARD for me to forget about food after that; every time I went to grab a Medifast meal, I wanted something else instead. It made it easier to justify a few crackers or too much ham on Christmas or a little slice of birthday cake this week. It gave me cravings and hunger and made it very difficult to get back to low carb eating. I am back now, but I paid a price: 7 pounds gained, headaches, nausea, and sore joints.
It is so much easier to never take that bite and just stay the course all the way to one's goal weight. But so few of us do that. It is possible, for sure. The longer I can go without an off plan bite, the quicker I will be at my goal.
This morning I got out a new, digital scale that was sent to me to review. It is supposed to be really accurate, so I was not too happy when I saw that it consistently weighed me several pounds heavier than my old dial scale. I am going to weigh my kids on it later and once I am satisfied that it really is more accurate, I will probably switch to using that from now on.
A Message to Open my Eyes
6 hours ago